B.J. Baldwin Masters The Baja Desert
ENSENADA, Mexico — Driving patiently over a tight and technical course which is not his style at all, Las Vegas’ Monster masher B.J. Baldwin pulled off a rare back-to-back victory Saturday in the 46th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000 desert race.
For the second straight year Baldwin drove his No. 1 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado to the overall and SCORE Trophy Truck race win in the granddaddy of all desert races.
While speed was his ally during last year’s race down the Baja California peninsula, this year was a tight, twisty, silt-ladden, rocky and old-fashioned brutal as the 883.1-mile longest loop race in the history of this iconic race said to be the roughest in race history, it was maturity and reserve that brought Baldwin’s sturdy steed to the finish line in 18 hours, 36 minutes 10 seconds, averaging 47.47 miles per hour.
“I got by Andy McMillin when he was driving Rob’s (MacCachren) truck while in the tight technical stuff at mile 530 when they had a flat tire. Andy kept me honest. Andy was bullying me around and Rob MacCachren was bullying me around when he got back in the truck,” Baldwin said. “I was trying to go really far on tires and because Andy was shoving me around I had to really push the tires in some of the roughest terrain for a tire. This race course is tight and technical and not something I’m particularly good at. I’m better at fast roads and backing it into corners between 85 and 110 mph. The tight, technical stuff isn’t nearly as much fun as rotating the truck at very high speed. I just ground it out and I’m surprised that we are here. We had a good day.”
Giving Las Vegas racers a sweep of the podium, with second and third overall four-wheel vehicle finishes were Las Vegas’ Rob MacCachren/Andy McMillin, second in his No. 11 Rockstar MacCachren Motorsports Ford F-150 and third was the team of Troy Herbst/Ryan Arciero, in the No. 91 Monster Energy Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford-F150. MacCachren finished in 18:43:29 and Herbst completed the course in 19:15:34.
The Baldwin victory also gave Toyo Tires its third overall victory in this race and second straight. BFGoodrich Tires, celebrating its 38th year of SCORE Baja racing in 2013, still leads overall with 25 overall four-wheel victory in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000 in the last 28 years, including one stretch of 20 straight.
Baldwin was the fastest four-wheel vehicle in the race while the overall fastest vehicle in the race and first-place among motorcycles was the Class 22 Johnny Campbell Racing Honda team led by Tim Weigand. Splitting the riding with teammates Colton Udall, David Kamo and Mark Samuels on the No. 1x Honda CRF450X of JCR Honda were they pushed their way across the northern part of the Baja peninsula to a winning time of 18:29:14 while averaging an unusually low 47.77 mph.
The victory earned American Honda its 24th all-time overall motorcycle win in the legendary race and the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 title for the 17th consecutive year.
Winning the overall ATV and Class 25 titles was the veteran team led by Mexico’s Adolfo Arellano. The Arellano team covered the course on a Honda TRX450R in 21:55:24, averaging 42.49 mph. Arellano’s co-riders on this difficult challenge were Wayne Matlock, Wes Miller and Roberto Villalobos.
With their class wins in the Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000, five SCORE desert racers were undefeated in their respective classes in the three races in the 2013 SCORE Desert Series. Among the car and truck classes, winning the SCORE tri-fecta were Elias Hanna (Class 7SX, Ford Ranger), Clyde Stacy (Trophy Truck Spec, Chevy Colorado, Donald Moss (Class 3, Ford Bronco), Tim Weigand (Class 22, Honda CRF450X) and Chad Broughton (Class 20, KTM 400XC-W).
With their victories in Ensenada, car and truck class winners who earned two of three class wins for the season were Ernesto Arambula (Class 1/2-1600, Romo-VW), Kevin Carr (Class 5, VW Baja Bug), Clyde Stacy (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug), Chelsea Magness (Protruck, Ford F-150), (Class 19, Polaris RZRXP4), Rene Rodriguez (Class 11, VW Sedan), Joe Bacal (Stock Full, Lexus LX570), Francisco Arredondo (Class 30, Honda CRF450X) and Adolfo Arellano (Class 25, Honda TRX450R).
Among the other car and truck class winners in this year’s 46th anniversary event were Damen Jefferies/Luis Ramirez Jr. (Class 1, Jefferies-Chevy), Brad Wilson (Class 10, Jimco-Chevy), Dan Chamlee (Class 7, Ford Ranger), Scott Kiger (Class 19, Polaris XP900), Terry Earwood (Baja Challenge, BTC-Subaru), Cody Schafer (Class 21, Kawasaki KX450F) and Scott Yenzer (Honda CRF450X).